Revgear League BJJGround Your first Teacher

3/20/17 11:41 AM
Posts: 3019
Some of you guys are old school. Not everyone had a black belt instructor back then. Just wanted to hear some stories about your first instructors, and where they are now, do they still teach etc.
3/20/17 12:08 PM
Posts: 2209

We would watch UFC 1 then move all the furniture and try to learn the moves later we purchased the original Gracie Jiujitsu vhs tapes and began to drill those  over and over.later joined wrestling then Judo 

3/20/17 1:11 PM
Posts: 4453
Chris Nardi, a blue belt in Japan. Then Yuki Nakai, when he was teaching out of Enson Inoue's gym back when it was called "SuperTiger" and then again when he first opened Paraestra.
3/20/17 1:22 PM
Posts: 6934

Started learning BJJ from a couple of purple belts in Beaverton Oregon. Both are black belts - I owe them a lot helping me.

3/20/17 2:45 PM
Posts: 7301
Started under a brown belt
Back in the day when a blue belt could "beat up Mike Tyson"
3/20/17 2:53 PM
Posts: 5200

First lesson was in a garage in 1990 with a black belt named Relson.   Was before UFC 1 and only a handful of guys trained, maybe 10 or 15 total.

3/20/17 3:20 PM
Posts: 57122
3/20/17 5:42 PM
Posts: 3020
bigraydaddy - Started under a brown belt
Back in the day when a blue belt could "beat up Mike Tyson"
You mean 2010? :p
Edited: 3/21/17 1:57 AM
Posts: 242

First instructor was Carley Gracie in 1993. Trained in a two car garage for about a year until the owner of the property had a falling out with Carley.

     My second  (the one I consider my Professor to this day) was Cassio Werneck. We brought him up from Brazil in '94-'95 as a phenomenal purple belt. At that point I had never seen Jiu-Jitsu of that caliber. Initially he was only supposed to stay in the U.S. for a couple of weeks, but after witnessing his Jiu-Jitsu, there was no way I was gonna let him leave. I somehow convinced him to stay and promised to open a school for him by the summer of '95. The rest is history.

     The man is of the highest integrity and completely changed my life for the better.

Edited: 3/21/17 5:29 PM
Posts: 28652

Before I ever started BJJ, I trained wuth Joe "The Ghettoman" Charles who fought in the UFC (Where he was 1-2). I was training in Danzan Ryu jujitsu  and wanted to cross train in grappling.

It was basically Gene LeBell Submission wrestling / NHB / basic BJJ. I was there for a year and a half. Everyone wore a white belt, except Joe who wore his Judo BB or his BJJ Blue Belt.

I think we had 4 guys in that little class go on to be pro MMA fighters in Belator, IFL, Superbrawl. Joe would put people in the cage literally after just a few months of training sometimes. It was nuts.

It was great --but rough.

3/20/17 8:30 PM
Posts: 5105

not old school but my first teacher was a pruple belt in bjj trained muay thai in thailand wrestling under and olympian (an australian olympian so the equivalent of a crappy college coach) and best of all was a black belt in ninjitsu

Also won the world modern pankration championship last year

3/20/17 8:54 PM
Posts: 37339

Don Banville (RIP). My buddy from Angola who used to watch Bruce Lee And a Carlos Santana movies with me somehow met him and we started training. Before that I did a little TKD and my pal did Kenpo. We watched the first UFC and used to try and emulate it. This has to be around 1995/1996. Don went on to have a pretty big team in MA but I trained with him when class was  his brother and about 5 other guys in the garage of a TMA instructor.

3/20/17 9:50 PM
Posts: 7069

Banville passed away?

Angola the country or Angola farm?

3/20/17 10:44 PM
Posts: 37340
de braco -

Banville passed away?

Angola the country or Angola farm?



the country

3/20/17 11:06 PM
Posts: 17504
joe canada - Chris Nardi, a blue belt in Japan. Then Yuki Nakai, when he was teaching out of Enson Inoue's gym back when it was called "SuperTiger" and then again when he first opened Paraestra.
Is nardi in Hawaii now? I might have trained with him in maui
3/20/17 11:50 PM
Posts: 7070
gusto -
de braco -

Banville passed away?

Angola the country or Angola farm?



the country

Damn. RIP Banville.


I've heard Angola the country is even dodgier than Angola the farm. YIKES!

3/21/17 1:12 AM
Posts: 13929
First teacher was a judo black belt. We just trained bjj drills we got from seminars as this was 2003 and beyond tapes and seminars that is all you really had. He got his blue from Pedro Sauer in 2004. These days he still runs a academy and association w one of the other guys I started with and both are black belts.
3/21/17 8:30 AM
Posts: 2453
my first instructors were Adam and Rory Singer. I think they were purple belts at the time, although all they taught then was no gi and mma related stuff so I'm not 100% positive. Both are now black belts (and have multiple black belts under them) and Hardcore Gym is still going strong. Their new facility looks amazing online. I was certainly lucky to start my bjj journey training under them as they were both fantastic instructors
3/21/17 8:48 AM
Posts: 4456
Bear: I don't know if Chris is in Hawai'i, but I would not be at all surprised.

What was the name of the academy -- I'd love to track him down and catch up -- been almost 20 years!
3/21/17 9:48 AM
Posts: 4558
When I started, I trained under Henry Matamoros.
He was a brown belt at the time, but after I left to tend to injuries, he became Wisconsin's first black belt.

Now has his own school in Colorado
3/21/17 9:58 AM
Posts: 4943
I trained under a good friend who had an MMA/Thai/BJJ gym. He was a white belt in BJJ but was an incredible Thai coach. And we also had a giant Macedonian blue belt from Melbourne. Now all these years later I teach privates to the then white belt who is now a 4 stripe blue.
3/21/17 11:28 AM
Posts: 2971

Pshemek Drabchinsksky who, at the time, was a blue belt under Carlson Gracie senior. This was back in the day when people were like "oh my god, there's a blue belt in town."  I learned a ton from him, and I recently had the pleasure of doing a podcast with him outside the. Gracie Barra headquarters. 

3/21/17 3:06 PM
Posts: 17473

Not counting the garage grappling after Aikido classes (training off Gracie basics vhs), it was Koji.  He was a purple belt at the time.  Now he has one of the best schools in Montreal.  Funnily enough, I found his school off this site ... some dude called ozone or oasis.  Class was 5 of us including a 16 year old Ivan Menjivar.

3/21/17 3:45 PM
Posts: 22860

submission wrestling: started with kirik in 1998 ... boxed/kickboxed/karate for over a decade before that

3/21/17 5:43 PM
Posts: 2407

Learned my first bit of BJJ from a bluebelt who trained at the Gracie Academy.  A year later I was training with Rigan and John Machado in Torrance.